Justin started another cycle of chemotherapy today. His physical exam went well, and his blood counts are very good.
He is doing well. He is doing really well. God, we are so grateful for your healing.
To my cancer parent friends:
•If your child has difficult veins like Justin, ask for – no, demand – Ativan (or an equal sedative) be given before IV placements. I started insisting on it since our last hospital stay and it has made a huge difference in the amount of suffering Justin endures each time.
You may have to make some noise, though. I asked earlier in his treatment to no avail. But as IV placements became more and more torturous, I wouldn’t take no for an answer.
The mild sedative relaxes Justin’s mind and body, so the vein is much less likely to clench up and “hide” or “refuse” to give blood. I’ve learned that, for Justin, fear and stress equal no IV placement and zero blood return.
They don’t want kids depending on these types of drugs, and I get that. But these are special circumstances. Don’t be afraid to get a little confrontational as your child’s main advocate!
•We still use “Buzzy” to help with the pain as well. Ask your nurse or child life specialist about this. If they don’t have one, Buzzy can be purchased on Amazon for about forty bucks and is money well spent.
•I was reminded, by Justin, today of another thing we used to do for port adhesive removal. You know, that super sticky plastic patch they put over the access needle which hurts like hell fire when pulled off? The orange waxy wipes they give you did not work for us. But good old-fashioned baby oil did! I applied it, generously, over the adhesive with a cotton ball and let it soak in for a few minutes. Glop it on real good for easier, less painful adhesive removal.
Well I hope this reaches the screen of someone who could use the help and encouragement. It’s a long, ugly road. And I was a clueless mess at the beginning. I’m still a mess most of the time, but like to think I’ve, at least, learned a thing or two.
Oh and I can tell you this, too. If possible, let your child bring a friend to chemotherapy treatments. Play games and act ridiculous. Kids love that kinda thing and it makes it all so much more bearable. Even fun.
And if YOU can bear it, getting them a pet really does help, too, this cancer mom reluctantly admits. I’m not a pet person per se, but I have seen the benefits to all my boys.
Okay I’m rambling and feel the need for a list. My cancer mom tips:
1. Request a sedative for difficult IV placements and blood draws.
2. Ask your nurse, phlebotomist or child life specialist to use Buzzy or purchase one yourself.
3. Use baby oil for adhesive removal – bandaids, tape, port patches, heart leads, etc.
4. Bring a friend to chemotherapy treatments. Play games and be funny.
5. Get your cancer kid a pet.
6. Take care of your own health! Stress will literally eat you alive if you don’t rest, take breaks, eat right. I used to laugh at this when our social worker brought it up. But stress is a killer, and who will take care of your child if you are dead?
7. Lots and lots of prayer. God loves you and your child. He really, really does. (Zephaniah 3:17)